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Carmelo Anthony Rumors: Knicks Eye Blazers UFA; Lakers 'Very Interested' in Contract 

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 1, 2021

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly among the teams expected to be interested in signing Carmelo Anthony in free agency.

ESPN's Jordan Schultz reported Sunday that the Knicks "have made it clear" they intend to pursue Anthony, citing Melo's relationship with Knicks president Leon Rose, who headed CAA's basketball division and represented Anthony as his agent before taking the Knicks job.

Schultz also reported that the Lakers are "very interested" in Melo and could be a good fit because of Anthony's longtime friendship with LeBron James.

A 10-time All-Star and one-time NBA scoring champion, the 37-year-old Anthony took on a lesser role in his two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers.

This past season, Anthony played just 24.5 minutes per game, which was a career low by a significant margin. He also started just three of the 69 games he appeared in after coming off the bench only eight times in his first 17 NBA seasons.

Melo was productive in his bench role, however, averaging 13.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.9 three-pointers made and 1.5 assists per contest. He also shot 42.1 percent from the field and a career-best 40.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Signing with New York would be a homecoming of sorts for Anthony since he spent seven seasons with the Knicks from 2010-11 through 2016-17.

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Anthony enjoyed some of the best years of his career in the Big Apple, earning an All-Star nod each year and winning the scoring title in 2012-13 with 28.7 points per game.

The rebuilding Knicks traded Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017, but now that they are back in the playoff mix, Melo could be a good fit.

New York surprisingly made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2013 and will look to improve upon its first-round exit next season.

Most of the Knicks' key players are on the younger aside, including RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin and Kevin Knox, and they could benefit from Anthony's veteran leadership.

If Melo's primary goal is to win a championship before retiring, though, the Lakers likely make the most sense as a landing spot.

L.A. won a championship behind LeBron and Anthony Davis in 2020, and although the Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in 2021, they are well equipped for another deep run.

Joining James and Davis during the upcoming season is a former NBA MVP in guard Russell Westbrook, who was acquired in a draft-night trade with the Washington Wizards.

While the Lakers have a star-laden Big Three, they are lacking in terms of outside shooters, especially after trading Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to Washington as part of the Westbrook deal.

With Anthony coming off the best three-point shooting season of his career, he would be an ideal complement to James, Davis and Westbrook, and he may be one of the biggest pieces needed to put the Lakers over the top.

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